Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bug-a-bug lost her first tooth

TAke a look! The tooth fairy left $2! She now has more money than both daddy and mommy combined!!

Reorganization and project ideas needed!!

First, I want to thank God for providing my good friends with their newly adopted boys from the Ukraine!! They started this journey two years ago and have just returned home with their two new little boys. Read their adventures at:

Second, I have a ton of pictures from our camping trip this past weekend which I'll be uploading hopefully today. And a new picture of Bug-a-bug who lost her first tooth yesterday.

Now, I've decided our school schedule works well, but the same thing at the same time everyday is about enough to bore me to tears, so I'm changing it. Moving stuff around a little should help us out some, I hope!

Projects, projects, projects! I desperately need some project ideas. We're doing well with school, so good in fact, we're done by about 1:30 everyday. Problem is the school kids here don't get home until four. So, I'm adding in some projects, which I wanted to do anyway. I know that as we get more involved in science and history, our days will go a little longer, but not long enough. If I have to hear I'm bored one more time in the afternoon, I think I will go mad!

So, here's what we're doing now. Trey is currently working on a president project. He has to learn about the first ten presidents, one a week and do some lapbook work on each of them. Then he will spend another week, learning about the job of the president (I know its a little backward).

While he's working on this, the girls and I are doing a circle of Life lapbook and learning about animals. We will be picking several to study in depth and do posters and/or reports on.

This should take us to about Christmas. After Christmas, Trey will do the following projects (Some are very short):

Habitat study (we'll take one habitat a week or so to study and do a project-report or diarama)
Genealogy study-this will also include his requirements for his boy scout merit badge.

The Girls:
Habitat study
All about me lapbook
I'm thinking of maybe having them make menus for their play kitchen. They can then use their play money for their restaurant and practice their money skills.

After this, I'm outta ideas. Any suggestions?

Gotta run. Little Miss Trouble just reached into the fridge and poured me a glass of juice-too bad most if it ended up on the floor.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I am an amateur genealogist and am trying to work on about twenty branches of our family tree at the same time. I'm pretty organized and am doing well at finding information.

My big problem is my paternal grandfather's side. We can't really verify his mother's correct name. It seems no one in the south used their real name. I have seen census records with Lillian, Lulamay, and Mattie L M for her name.

My great-grandmother on another branch: Her name was Violet Anora, but she used Polly. And of course, my entire family is from the south, so there're all like this. Trying to research "Polly's" brothers-all my father could remember that they were called was Uncle Fuzzy and Uncle Tater and surprisingly, they made alot of moonshine. Even more surprising, I found Uncle Jake's grave-marked "Tater" on the gravestone.

So anyway, I'm going to try to order my grandfather's birth certificate from AL. Here's what the website says:

Records Available: The Alabama Center for Health Statistics began filing birth certificates in 1908 for persons born in Alabama.

Restrictions: By Alabama law, birth certificates are confidential records with restricted access for 125 years from the date of birth. They may be obtained by the following persons, upon payment of the proper fee:spouses, children

Now, I'm not a rocket scientist or anything, but if you've only kept records since 1908, 125 years have not even passed yet in order for me to order a copy. Okay dokey!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

and yet more pictures

TL went camping with the boy scouts this weekend. The theme is Indian Lore and they camped out in teepees. How cool is that?

Here he is next to the teepee.

And I totally promise that this is the last of the pictures. Until next weekend that is-we're going camping in the mountains, by a lake. Life is rough here in Western WA!

Have a blessed week!

Another update in pictures

For those of you looking for deep insights on homeschooling, sorry. I had about a month of photos to update you with!

Grandpa is so proud!! This is a face that he does with the kids!

Tylar looking up to her daddy!

Last week we went camping at the same place we stayed for six weeks when we moved here. The view is spectacular, but this sunset is amazing!! We could see the water and sunset through the trees!

Another view of a beautiful sunset.

Enjoying her swing.

Shadow and his girls!! Little Tylar looks like a baby doll!

Daddy and three of his girls. Little Miss Trouble was busy eating lunch.

Tylar's bath time. She looks a little frightened!

more to come....

Update in pictures

Hello all!! Please read my post below this one to find a great website on budget meals.

Here's a photo update of our week. As I stated below, we've been very busy this week with friends in town visiting.

This is a photo of Deception Pass Bridge from the Park area. The bridge connects Fidalgo Island and Whidbey Island. The view from above is spectacular, but the view from the beach we discovered was just as brilliant.

This is TL checking out the view from above.

Here's our girls and our friend's daughter. They are best buds.

Here's another gorgeous view.

Little Miss Trouble not only storing rocks in her pocket, but apparently tasting them too. Yum!

The Pacific Northwest is loaded with driftwood. This is not a closeup-entire tree trunks are the driftwood!

Thankfully, it was low tide and the kids had a blast climbing all over this rock. It made me nervous because of the whirlpools, which are quite dangerous here.

This tide pool is actually on top of that giant rock the kids were climbing. And who could miss the beautiful shot of my sneaker. For any new readers, this is how I show I was actually there. I know, I really need to get new shoes!

We had another big event this week. Bug-a-bug tested for her new belt in her Little Kickers Taekwondo class.

We're very proud of her. She did a great job and will receive her new belt and certificat this week.

I have more photos to upload. We're waiting for other friends to arrive home tonight to take our visiting friends over to their house for the night. They leave tomorrow morning and are getting a ride to the airport from them.

Have a wonderful week!


We've had an extremely busy last week. Our friends arrived from St. Louis for the chief pinning on Wednesday. We have enjoyed showing them around and visiting with them. Its been almost a year since we saw them in Japan and it will be longer before we see them again I'm afraid. I have lots of pictures to post, but need to do some fixing on the computer before I do that. I hope to be posting photos later tonight.

I have just found a wonderful website.


I am desperately trying to limit our food budget, but with a family of seven, its just not possible. Two kiddos in diapers and a monster sized dog doesn't help the budget either. I currently spend about $200/week on groceries. I buy alot of fresh produce, which really adds up. I do not buy any frozen meals, boxed meals, or any processed meals. I prefer for us to eat fresh or frozen foods to learn to eat healthier. My current plan is to lower our budget at least $25/week, which will save us $100/month. Although, I have some food in the pantry, I do not have "a lot", nor do I have a huge stock in the freezer, which is why we are spending so much each week. I basically buy what we need.

One of the other things, I'm back to doing, is making fresh rolls/bread and homeade cookies, cakes, pies, and ice cream. I will be posting some recipes I'm been trying out and some old favorites. I have two to share right now.

The first is a fabulous roll recipe for your bread machine. My friend Kozison shared this recipe with me when we lived in Japan.

Maple Syrup Rolls

200cc Milk or Water at room temp
1 egg
4 TBSP Butter
4 TBSP Maple Syrup or pancake syrup
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast
4 TBSP sugar

Put into the bread machine in the order listed above. Set for dough setting. When done, punch down dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into the number of rolls that you would like (I usually get 24). Wait 5 minutes and shape each piece of dough. Put them on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Spray a little water on each roll. Let rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.

Spray with water again before baking. Bake in a preheated oven (350) for 12-18 minutes-until lightly browned (this will depend on your roll size)

The next recipe is from www.allrecipes.com I don't usually mark where I found them. Muffins are a huge favorite breakfast item here and the kids usually eat them with hard boiled eggs or yogurt.

Apple Pumpkin Muffins

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup canned or cooked pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped peeled apples

In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, combine the eggs, pumpking and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples. Fill paper lined muffin cups two thirds full. (I usually get 24)

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for five minutes before removing from pans to wire rack.

Side note: This recipe call for a streusel topping of cinnamon, sugar, and butter. I believe it has enough sugar already, so I don't do that. I usually sprinkle a little cinnamon on top.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ending the first week

This week was our first week of school. We did only half days, actually completing all subjects but writing and history/science. Not too bad. The kids worked hard and got alot of work done quickly. Today was the best day. For the different subjects, I ended up moving to the dining room table and moving the kids in one by one for some mommy instruction time. This worked much better than the last few days, which included constant interruptions. If I'm not in the room, they couldn't ask me a question. Most subject intruction took only a few minutes and I'd check between them to see if there were any questions. With all this up and down and walking back and forth (it must be at least fifteen feet one way from the dining room table to the schoolroom), I will hopefully lose some more baby weight, lol.

I was hoping to post pictures from the passport club materials, but my computer is giving me fits and I just didn't want to deal with it tonight.

In another effort to make school more interesting, and of course, learn even more geography, we have decided to do flat travelers this year. I send emails out to some friends and got everyone to agree to host a flat friend for a while. This is wonderful news and will be alot of fun for the kids. I also just found a yahoo group the deals with flat travelers. There are over 700 members of this group and a giant list of all participants (you must include your own info on this list). You can look up different locations and email to see if they would like to exchange flat friends. It looks like a wonderful group-but be warned. It took over a week for the moderator to approve me for membership. This group is also very active and you may want to see about doing a daily digest instead of individual emails. I've received over twenty emails today. Here is the info.

If you are interested in exchanging flat friends, please let me know. We would love to host your flat friend!

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The passport club

This year we're participating in the passport club with our homeschool support group. Each child gets a passport. Each month lists five levels to study. The first three levels list five countries to study. The fourth level has 10 countries. The fifth level is the capitals to the countries in level one. Included are two very large maps, probably 2'x4'. The first map is the study map that labels everything in the passport. The second map is blank and will also be used for their testing. Also included is the study map for each month. At the end of the month, the kids go to the testing site and test their knowledge on the big blank map. Each level gets one sticker in their passport book. We're looking forward to starting this next week. It should be alot of fun!! Check it out at www.thepassportclub.net.

Also, thank you so much for your prayers. My Aunt Florence seems to be improving. They have not set her arm yet because of all of the other issues. She was removed from the respirator yesterday for two hours. She's been reluctant to breathe deeply because of the pain of her broken ribs. I can only imagine how much pain she's in. My Aunt Vivian is still the same. I haven't heard from my mom today about any test results. I'll keep you posted.

Have a wonderful, safe, and fun weekend!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Prayers needed

Please pray for my two great aunts. My first great aunt Florence was found last Tuesday on her garage floor after she had fallen. She has broken all the ribs on the left side of her body, bruised her heart, punctured a lung, and fractured her arm. Yesterday, she was fighting a serious infection and things looked bad. Today, she is doing much better.

My other great aunt Vivian went to the doctor last week. Her blood count was 7. She had a transfusion today and has to have testing done because they think she may bleeding internally, but have no idea from what or why.

Both of these ladies are the matriachs from opposite sides of our family. Please keep them in your prayers! Thank you!`

Military medicine

I know that everyone's up in arms (and losing fingers) debating the health care reform that may or may not take place. I have only one thought for you to chew on-if 50 million people are thrown into the system with free health care, don't they realize that there are not enough health care providers to provide quality care in a timely manner? Not that I'm saying, it shouldn't be provided, but I believe baby steps need to be taken in order to ensure everyone has proper care. We do not want to end up like Cananda. Many Canadians come to the US for health care because they may have to wait three years to have a heart bypass. My friend's mother in law was refused kidney dialysis because she did not follow her diabetic medicine and diet properly and they only had one machine-better to let the people use it who cared about their health.

Enough of that. Anyway, we live in this system. Military medicine is not all its cracked up to be. Yes, it free. BUT, we have no say in our care whatsoever. I could tell you about a dozen horror stories-all either happened to me or my friends. These are not stories passed down from person to person. My favorite, is when Bugabug tried to climb the side of her cribe when she was about 18 months old. Got her leg stuck and fell. Couldn't put pressure on it and cried. The doctor refused to do xrays because he said that she had a viral infection in her hip and that her sister lied about what happened (I was folding laundry in another room). His super duper xray eyes helped him with his diagnosis. I'm surprised I didn't slug him. Anyway, it was fractured, thankfully, only a splinter fracture, but it took me four days to get the correct diagnosis. nice.

Yesterday, I had to take the baby for her two week checkup. I arrived at 9:10 for my 9:20 appt. I was brought in for vitals at 9:25 and then placed into the exam room. Before I go on, I should tell you that yesterday was Kevin's first day back to work after baby leave. He opted to come home after pt and watch the kids so I didn't have to take five kids with me to the doctor. Okay, back to the story. At 9:55, still no doctor, nor any contact with anyone. I went out to ask the status of the doctor. The corpsmen didn't know. He was with a patient I was told, that's all he knew. Okay, was I patient twelve and he was on number ten? What was the deal? At 10:15 I dressed the baby and put her in her car seat. At 10:20 I walked out. I handed my paperwork to the nurse and told her I couldn't wait any longer, my hubby had to get to work. Her response was "do you need to reschedule?". Well, no not really. See I was here. For over an hour. And waiting. And waiting. Without any communication with the staff. I was done.

I do have to say, that they did at least call me to apologize yesterday. I was told that there was an emergency that morning that needed to be addressed. Okay, that's totally fine. I'm certainly not going to say, hey, ignore the kid not breathing, cause I have an appt today. I'm not that cold hearted. My point was, that during this hour, that could have been told to me. Wasn't. They don't care. This is just their job in the military and they're passing their time until they get out. Its very frustrating to be in a system of health care providers that are overworked adn underpaid, and more often than not, understaffed. Praying for our country and health care reform!

Sorry for the rant.